Richmond, Va. — Following the release of Senate Republicans’ COVID-19 relief package in Congress, Virginia Organizing Chairperson Del McWhorter released the following statement:
“As COVID-19 infections are surging and more than 2,000 Virginians have died from the disease and more than 900,000 have filed for unemployment, millions need help to get through this tough time and take care of their families.
“Yet rather than propose a package commensurate with the scale of harm we are seeing to families, workers, and the economy, Senate leadership has proposed a package that does little to address our needs.
- It ignores the issue of food insecurity getting worse in our communities.
- It actually cuts unemployment benefits.
- It does not increase funding for Medicaid.
- It provides no funding for state and local budget shortfalls.
“In May, we released a letter signed by more than 140 state and local officials calling for these critical investments to create a strong, equitable recovery. This Senate proposal not only doesn’t address the tremendous harm that so many people have already suffered, but the extremely inadequate relief package also shortchanges workers, small businesses, and local economies in ways that will delay recovery.
“Without more robust investment in state and local government, in unemployment and worker protections, and in Medicaid that millions depend on for healthcare and jobs, COVID-19 will do even more harm.
“Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine have supported expanded Medicaid funding and worker protections in the past. We hope they will go back to the Senate leadership and demand a better deal for Virginians. It’s criminal that billionaires are getting richer in this pandemic while the rest of us are getting sicker and poorer. Congress can and must do better if we are going to beat COVID-19.”